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NHS (U.K.) 

Healthy diet could cut risk of Alzheimer's disease

"A new diet could more than halve a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease," the Mail Online reports.In a new study, researchers looked at the effects of three diets on the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. These were:*a standard Mediterranean-type diet *the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension diet (DASH) – designed to reduce blood pressure *Mediterranean-DASH Interv

Sperm quality pesticides claim 'should be treated with caution'

"Pesticides on fruit and vegetables may be damaging sperm counts and men should consider going organic if they want to have children," The Daily Telegraph reports. A study found men who ate the highest amount of fruit and vegetables with high levels of pesticides had a 49% lower sperm count, as well as a 32% lower count of normally formed sperm, than men who consumed the least amount. Sperm c

Meningitis B jab to be added to NHS child vaccine schedule

"All babies in the UK will soon have a potentially life-saving vaccine against meningitis B," The Guardian reports. The vaccine, Bexsero, will soon be offered to babies once they reach the age of two months, followed by two more booster shots.What is meningitis B?Meningitis B is a highly aggressive strain of bacterial meningitis that infects the protective membranes surrounding the brain an

Parents fail to spot that their kids are obese

"Parents hardly ever spot obesity in their children, resulting in damaging consequences for health," BBC News reports after a new study found a third of UK parents underestimated the weight of their child. The study asked parents for their views about whether their child was underweight, a healthy weight, overweight or obese, comparing this with objective measurements of the child's weight an

Fit middle-aged men have lower cancer risk

"Very fit men in their late 40s are less likely to get lung cancer and colorectal cancer than unfit men," says BBC News as it reports on a new US study. The study involved a comprehensive fitness test of 13,949 US men. They were split into three fitness groups: lowest 20%, middle 40% and top 40%, and followed for an average of 6.5 years to see if fitness affected their chance of developing ce

Crossing your fingers may help reduce pain

"Crossing your fingers might reduce pain," says The Guardian. The study behind the news found crossing your fingers may confuse the way your brain processes feelings of hot and cold – and, in some cases, reduce painful sensations.Rather than subjecting the participants to "normal" pain, the authors used a trick known as the thermal grill illusion. The thermal grill illusion is not the latest

Do antibiotics in pregnancy cause cerebral palsy and epilepsy?

"Antibiotic used in pregnancy linked to risk of epilepsy and cerebral palsy," The Guardian reports. The results of a new study suggest women who take macrolide antibiotics were slightly more likely to give birth to a child with one (or both) of these conditions, compared with women who take penicillin. But no association was found between taking antibiotics in general during pregnancy and

Milk and dairy 'good for the brain' claim unproven

"Three glasses of milk every day ‘helps prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's’," is the misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph. The study it reports on only found that a high-dairy diet was linked to increased levels of an antioxidant called glutathione. It is also unclear what, if any, protective effects higher levels of glutathione would have against Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

Frequent antibiotic use linked to higher type 2 diabetes risk

"Repeated antibiotic use linked to diabetes," BBC News reports. New research has studied over 200,000 people from the UK who were diagnosed with diabetes between 1995 and 2013. Researchers counted the number of antibiotic prescriptions they had during an average five-year period before they were diagnosed. They compared the number of prescriptions given to an age- and gender-matched control g

Study finds link between air pollution and stroke risk

"Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of stroke," BBC News reports, prompted by a large global study in The BMJ. Researchers found an association even with brief upsurges in air pollution levels.Previous research has shown a strong link between air pollution and heart attacks, but until now the research looking at air pollution and stroke has had mixed results. In this study, the r

Are power naps a 'five-fold' memory booster?

"A 45-minute power nap can boost your memory five-fold," reports The Independent. This headline is based on a study that looked at the impact of napping on healthy volunteers’ ability to remember single words or word pairs in a memory test. After being shown the words for the first time and then being tested on them, volunteers were split into two groups. The first group was allowed a 90-m

'4D' ultrasound shows effects of smoking on unborn babies

"Unborn baby shown grimacing in womb as mother smokes," is the somewhat misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph. The news comes after researchers released dramatic images of babies in the womb taken using 4D ultrasound scanners. 4D scanners provide real-time moving images of babies in the womb. Some newspapers have interpreted these images as showing distress caused by smoking. While sm

News analysis: Angelina Jolie's surgery to 'cut ovarian cancer risk'

Writing in the New York Times, actress Angelina Jolie has announced she recently had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as tests showed she had an estimated 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer. This is because previous testing found she was carrying high-risk genes linked with ovarian as well as breast cancer.This follows a previous announcement in 2013 when Ms Jolie announced she ha

Blood test could provide an early arthritis warning

"Arthritis breakthrough as new test diagnoses condition up to a decade earlier," the Mail Online reports. The test measures proteins linked with arthritis.The study aimed to see whether a blood test could be developed that could distinguish between different types of early stage arthritis.The study included groups of people with established diagnoses, including those diagnosed with early-s

Climate change 'might bring rise in UK mosquito-borne diseases'

"Mosquitoes heading for warmer UK," Sky News reports after a new review predicted climate change will make the UK a more hospitable environment for disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks, leading to an outbreak of conditions normally seen in more tropical climates. In the review, two authors searched the literature to identify evidence looking at the effect climate change in Europe could have

Research casts doubt on aspartame sensitivity

"Sweetener linked to cancer is safe to use," reports the Mail Online.Aspartame – a commonly used artificial sweetener – has been dogged by controversy, despite being deemed safe by food regulators in the UK, EU and US.Some believe they are sensitive to the sweetener. Anecdotal reports suggest it can cause headaches and stomach upsets. This study recruited 48 "aspartame-sensitive" indivi

Are half of all children's teeth really rotten?

"Rotten teeth are secret reason why teens don't smile," revealed The Times today.The Daily Mirror expressed shock over revelations that, "More than a quarter of British children are afraid to smile because they have such bad tooth decay". It explained how "poverty and sugar" were to blame after evidence has emerged that the poorest in British society are "twice as likely" to suffer from or

Following UK dietary advice may cut heart disease risk

"Sensible diet cuts heart attack risk in months," The Times reports after a randomised controlled trial found evidence that following current UK diet guidelines can reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.We know that being a healthy weight and not smoking can help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, but

New blood test could help prevent antibiotic misuse

"A new blood test can help doctors tease out whether an infection is caused by a bacteria or a virus within two hours," BBC News reports. The test, which looks at protein pathways in the blood, could help to appropriately target the use of both antibiotics and antivirals. In many cases, it is unclear whether a person’s symptoms are being caused by a viral or bacterial infection, and current t

Damage to 'heart health' may start in childhood

"Children are suffering damage to their hearts as early as 12 due to poor diets," the Mail Online reports. A US study has found high levels of known risk factors for heart disease in children. The study has not shown the direct effect these risks have in this age group, but it has raised concerns that they may affect the heart from childhood.The study looked at four related risk factors kn

Breastfed babies 'grow up to be brainier and richer'

"Breastfed babies grow up smarter and richer, study shows," The Daily Telegraph reports. A study from Brazil that tracked participants for 30 years found a significant association between breastfeeding and higher IQ and income in later life. This study followed almost 3,500 infants from birth to adulthood in Brazil. It found babies who were breastfed longer had higher IQs at the age of 30, as

Obese people 'underestimate how much sugar they eat'

"Obese people are 'in denial' about the amount of sugar they eat," the Mail Online reports. Researchers looking into the link between sugar consumption and obesity found a "huge gap" between overweight people's self-reported sugar consumption and the reality, according to the news story.Researchers assessed the self-reported sugar consumption (based on food diaries) and sugar levels in urine

Could epilepsy drug help treat Alzheimer's disease?

A drug commonly used to treat epilepsy could help "slow down" the progress of Alzheimer's disease, reports The Daily Express. According to the news story, the drug levetiracetam was shown to "help restore brain function and memory". The story is based on a study analysing the short-term effect of the drug in 54 people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This is where people have problems wi

All teens should be vaccinated against rare strain of meningitis

"A vaccination for meningitis is to be offered to all 14-18 year-olds in England and Wales, after a spike in a rare strain of the disease," The Guardian reports. The strain – meningitis W (MenW) – is described as rare, but life-threatening.There has been a year-on-year increase in the number of meningitis cases caused by MenW since 2009, and infection has been associated with particularly sev

Does light at night pose a health risk?

"Britons should fit blackout blinds and ban electronic gadgets from the bedroom to avert the risk of diseases such as cancer," the Mail Online warns. This alarmist advice is prompted by a review looking at the theory that electrical light at night disrupts our normal body block and could therefore pose a risk to our health. In the review, researchers looked at various studies, including re

Do people with depression perceive time differently?

"How depression affects our sense of time: Hours drag on and even stand still," is the somewhat over-hyped headline from the Mail Online.As the old saying goes – Time flies when you’re having fun. So does the reverse also ring true? Does feeling depressed slow down your perception of time? Two German researchers tried to find out.They pooled the results of previous studies, which lead to 4

Loneliness 'increases risk of premature death'

"Loneliness as big a killer as obesity and as dangerous as heavy smoking," the Daily Express reports. Researchers pooled the results of previous studies, estimating that loneliness can increase the risk of premature death by around 30%.The headline follows a new analysis of more than 3.4 million participants, which showed evidence that people who feel, or are, socially isolated or live alone

Ebola risk remains low as medic flown home

A UK military healthcare worker who was infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone has been flown home and is being treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London.Four other healthcare workers who had been in contact with the infected person are also being assessed. Two were flown home on the same flight as the infected worker and are now being monitored at the Royal Free. The others are to be assesse

Ultrasound 'breakthrough' in treating Alzheimer's - in mice

"Alzheimer's breakthrough as ultrasound successfully treats disease in mice," The Guardian reports. New research found high-energy sound waves helped remove abnormal clumps of proteins from the brains of mice, and also improved their memory.The mice used in this study were genetically engineered to produce amyloid plaques – abnormal clumps of protein fragment amyloid-β typically found in t

Diet, exercise and brain training may help keep the mind 'sharp'

"Dancing, doing Sudoku and eating fish and fruit may be the way to stave off … mental decline," The Guardian reports. A Finnish study suggests a combination of a healthy diet, exercise and brain training may help stave off mental decline in the elderly. The study looked at whether a combined programme of guidance on healthy eating, exercise, brain training and the management of risk factors s

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